Who are the Libyan Rebels?

By Mark Graham

The current war in Libya is astonishing for many reasons, first of which is that we are being told this is not a war.  The White House would instead like us to refer to it as a “kinetic military action.” Supposedly it is not a war since there are no boots on the ground, apart from the four US troops now stationed at the US Embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.  So what logic is this? Can the government now strike any country and say it’s not a war if there are no soldiers on the ground?  Our main concern though should be this: who are the “Rebels”?

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the man who led the rebel assault on Tripoli, was tracked down by the CIA in 2003 and transferred to a top secret prison in Bangkok as reported by Huffingtonpost.com on August 30th. He was then handed over to the Libyan Secret Service and later released, a decision which has obviously come back to haunt the Gaddafi regime.

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, another commander of the Libyan Rebels, has even gone so far as to admit that many of his fighters fought against the allied forces in Afghanistan, saying his men are “patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists.”  Followed by his view that “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.”  This interview was given to the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, before later being reported by the UK publication, The Telegraph.

In addition to this information, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has also been quoted urging the “new Libya” to be firm against “violent extremism,” and saying that the triumphant rebels had obligations to the International Community.

The help being given to the rebels has obviously been invaluable to their cause, and it is highly unlikely they would have succeeded without the US and its NATO allies, and as of late it looks like they will be victorious over Gaddafi and his brutal regime.

Should the US government and their allies be helping these fighters while their allegiances to our values are obviously questionable at best?  This could very well turn out to be another disaster similar to the one that took place in Afghanistan in the 1980’s when the US government equipped and trained the rebels to fight against the Soviets. The Taliban later took control of the nation which became the base for Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organisation.

These foreign excursions cloaked in the guise of humanitarian missions need to stop.  It is questionable whether they are even helping the people of these nations. As in many cases of this giving of humanitarian aid, what comes after is worse than before and we can only guess what will happen next in Libya.  More importantly, the US just cannot afford to be the Policeman of the World any longer.  The country must go back to a isolationist approach and not get involved in every conflict that happens to occur in the Middle East and North Africa regardless of their interest in oil.